My Story: Beth and Dad

“My father often said when I was a child that if he was ever ill he would much rather be treated by a vet than a doctor. Back then it was an amusing one liner from a farmer and man of the country, but it turned out to be a poignantly insightful look into his future, because to try and work out what he wanted, needed and felt during much of the 19 years he lived with vascular dementia required the skills of a vet; someone who tries to understand and treat their patients without any help whatsoever from the patient. 

Year by year dementia locked away parts of dad’s brain that no one had the key to. He was no longer in our world in the same way that we were never truly in his, and in attempting to bridge this divide we, as a family, had to become expert interpreters. All the love, care and dedication in the world, however, still leaves you feeling you could always have done more.  

I have heard it said that with dementia the mind passes away long before the body ever does, and that is the painful reality both for the person battling the disease and, more acutely, their loved ones watching their decline, powerless to prevent it. 

In my father’s case, his lengthy battle with dementia ended in April 2012, less than two weeks after his 85th birthday. That he lived with this disease for so long is largely down to the fact that his body, in the most part, was extremely strong. He could have had a long and very happy retirement if he hadn’t been let down by his brain, slowly and very cruelly.  

Although dad’s battle is over, for so many others, sadly their struggle is just beginning. The work of BRACE is vital in helping to find out what causes dementia, how it can be diagnosed quicker and treated more effectively, and ultimately how it can be prevented.” 

Beth Britton, BRACE ambassador, sharing her Father's story.


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